Category Archive: Research Spotlight

Delve into a particular journal article, presentation, or research program dealing with invasive species.

Dec 30

Research spotlight: what triggers invasions?

A recent study utilized a thirty-year dataset to examine the question of how a reduction in the consumption of an invader might trigger an invasion.

Feb 18

Research spotlight: Rare natives hold out against invaders

The past few years have seen some serious discussion among conservation biologists about the biodiversity value of invaded communities.  For example, to what degree do some invasive species integrate into native communities, how extensive and permanent are the damages from invasives, and are native species able to evolve in response?  It is important to resolve …

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Jan 07

When native species invade

White tailed deer is a species native to Kentucky, where I live, and to much of the eastern hardwood forest region of the USA.  However, white tailed deer have attained such high abundance that they cause major ecological problems normally associated with invasive species.  For example, white tailed deer browse tree seedlings, so in areas …

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Oct 29

Communicating about invasive species- a good podcast!

Cane toad image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I recently subscribed to the Ecological Society of America’s podcast “Beyond the Frontier,” which features engaging interviews (usually 10 to 15 minutes, perfect timing for the walk to work) with scientists who have recently published in one of ESA’s journals.  One of my favorite episodes is an interview with Dr. Richard Shine at the University …

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Sep 11

Research Spotlight: Climate Change and Invasive Species

Dry riverbed in Australia, courtesy of http://freeaussiestock.com

Climate change and invasive species are often listed as two of the greatest threats to biodiversity. Is it possible that changing climate can itself cause more frequent and damaging invasions, such that the two factors have synergistic effects?  A recent article in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment by Jeffrey M. Diez et al. approaches this …

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May 07

What future for plant invasions?

When it comes to invasives, three key words are prevention, prevention, and prevention.  We know that an efficient and strategic way to combat invasive species is to keep them from establishment in the first place, such as through quarantines, screening mechanisms, or black lists.  A useful question for such prevention policies is, “Which are the …

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Feb 13

Invasive species? Better act local.

A recent study in the journal Biological Invasions, When are eradication campaigns successful? A test of commonly held assumptions, yielded some invasivore-friendly conclusions. Pluess et al. (2012) analyzed 136 eradication campaigns against 75 different species of invertebrates, plants, and plant pathogens to see what the successful campaigns had in common. The review examined several factors, …

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Nov 28

Invasivore Interview: Dr. David Costello

Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. David Costello to talk earthworms, research, and invasivory.  Can you start by giving us a quick overview of your dissertation research? My dissertation research focused on how the impact of invasive species can extend outside the typical boundaries of an ecosystem.  For example, invasive earthworms …

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Oct 10

Escape of GMO canola!

Do edible GMOs even exist?  This looks like a job for conditional probabilities, to stats-mobile!

Would you eat genetically modified invaders? A recent article from the University of Arkansas demonstrates that genetically modified (GMO) varieties of Canola make up 80% of the escaped feral canola plants identified along roadsides in North Dakota.  The paper by Meredith Schafer and colleagues came out last week in the highly ranked free journal PLoS ONE.   Brassica napus, the plant of the …

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Aug 25

Invasivores Down Under

Stop the Spread of tilapia

This last week I’ve been in Cairns, Australia, in tropical Northern Queensland.  I’ve been searching for a prime invasivore target: Tilapia.  Tilapia mariae and Oreochromis mossambicus where introduced into Australia several decades ago, and started becoming a problem about 20 years ago.  In many areas, these tilapias have come to dominate native fish communities.  Alas, …

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